Finance

European markets decline amid US-China tensions over Hong Kong; Ocado up 14%

European markets are set to open lower on Friday amid strained relations between the U.S. and China over protests in Hong Kong.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is seen falling 15 points to 7,396, Germany’s DAX down 21 points to 13,219 and France’s CAC off by 4 points at 5,905, according to IG data.

Sentiment was dampened by a recent escalation in tensions between Washington and Beijing after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation in support of the Hong Kong protesters. China’s foreign ministry responded, claiming the U.S. had “sinister intentions.”

Shares in Asia fell on concerns that the news could lessen the chances of the world’s two largest economies reaching an initial “phase one” trade deal. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan sank 1%.

Back in Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron renewed his criticism of NATO Thursday, defending his claim the military alliance was suffering a “brain death.”

Next week will be a busy one in geopolitics, with NATO due to meet for its 2019 summit and Trump set to meet Queen Elizabeth II in London.

In terms of data, U.K. figures released Friday showed consumer confidence remained stuck at its lowest level since 2013 in November, amid uncertainty over the Dec. 12 general election. Meanwhile, French GDP data for the third quarter is due later in the morning.

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